If you enjoy bike riding and dipping into hot springs, then this adventure will delight and relax you. Montezuma hot springs just outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico is a jewel along the Gallinas Creek. Route 65 is the perfect leisurely bike ride. The springs are right along the road, somewhat masked by guard rails.
Jewel of Gallinas Creek
The jewels I am speaking of along the Gallinas Creek is a series of small, warm, mineral-charged pools named Montezuma Hot Springs. It’s a beautiful setting, as the springs overlook the wild oaks swarming the rivers edge as well as being in eye-shot of the “old stone hotel”, (look a the top of the cliff side on the other side of the creek). Which was originally called Hot Springs Hotel. This old standing hotel now serves as the administration building of the United World College (UWC)– USA. There is more information coming in regards to these hotels. Lots of activity around this place!
Today the bubbling springs are captured in open-air cement pools that still remain long after the closing of the hotel. Although, located on private property, UWC allows free public access to the springs, maintains regulations for using the tubs and sees they are kept clean. Bathing suits are required.
Maneuvering through the small entrance to the springs with my bike was a little bit of a challenge. A narrow rocky entrance pointed downhill toward the clustered stone/rock pools. Most noteworthy is The Lobster Pot, (a very hot 120°) and flanked by the two smaller and much shallower pools.
These concrete tubs tend to be cozy when other bathers are present. If its crowded, I usually only stick my feet in. There is also a trail along the creek that links to several other outlying pools a bit further from the road. Therefore, if you are in the mood for more adventure, try cooling off in the Gallinas Creek.
Montezuma Hot Springs Have Been Around for Centuries.
Native warriors visited these springs after battle to heal their wounds.
In 1840, a man named McDonald petitioned the Mexican government for the land, and was granted it on the condition he became a Mexican citizen. He then set up a house by the hot springs and charged admission.
Furthermore, after the territory of New Mexico was conquered by the U.S. Army and taken from Mexico, a military hospital was established near the hot springs. This building was then converted into the Hot Springs Hotel in 1862, and then replaced by the “old stone hotel” in 1879.
In addition, it was rumored that Jesse James and Billy the Kid probably spent an evening or two here relaxing after hours of throwing cards in an old adobe nearby.
Now a days, more than ever, we need to relax and unwind. Soaking in mineral water among a natural setting is the best antidote for anxiety or any kind of stress. Settle in and enjoy nature’s wonderful and healing gifts. The soothing sounds of water and the gentle rustling of the leaves on the trees is like listening to a soft music concert.
This whole area has good vibes. Sometimes I rode beyond the hot springs to the 6 mile mark. There is a place to park under oaks that you can climb down to the Gallinas Creek, if that is what you want to do. After that, there is a dirt road heading west, but I usually turn around here and ride back to enjoy the hot springs. On the way back is a sturdy, old metal bridge where you can climb down into the river, if that’s what you want to do.
Back at the hot springs, the afternoon sun is sinking. The canyon walls are filling up with shadows. I feel pleasantly relaxed, warm and don’t really want to leave. But, I do get up and push my bike back up the short steep path to the road and ride comfortably back into town.
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